Crane Fly
Northern California, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2005

A strikingly-marked crane fly.  Notice the reduction of the hind wing to a knobby structure called a haltere.  All flies have halteres, they serve much like gyroscopes in helping flies discern flight dynamics.  These structures are thought to be a key innovation behind the extraordinary flight cababilities of flies compared to most other insects.

USA CA: Nevada Co.  Empire Mine State Historic Park, Grass Valley.  14.v.2005  39º12.89'N 121º02.51'W, 760m.
Madrone forest.

This image is copyrighted by the photographer and cannot be used without permission. To obtain permission to use this image, please email Alex Wild. (alwild (at)  Most of the photographs on are reduced from their original size and compressed for more efficient web transmission.  In some cases, higher quality versions are available.

This image was captured with a Canon EOS D60, with a Canon 65/2.8 MPE 1-5x Macro lens.